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How to build links to your website - 103 Methods that work

Updated on March 29, 2018

How to build links to your website is a popular topic. I guess i am trying to follow some of my own advice through the creation of this guide. If this is a first read, all will become clear.

It's weird that the things in life that pay us the greatest dividends are usually the most labour intensive. That kinda sucks, however on the flip side, if it was quick to gain those rewards in life, everyone would be doing it and it would be more difficult for all of us to make an impact. Where does it leave us? Well it leaves the lazy three paces behind and rewards those who are prepared to put the time into achieving goals. C'est la vie. Link building is one of those labour intensive activities. It's boring, repetitive and above all else, slow. Not a great advert, so far. It is however the creme de la creme of higher search engine rankings and Internet success.

There are many ways in which we can build links, some worth their weight, others not. In fact, use of the word 'many' seems a little understated, given the title of this article. Let's try that again. There are 103 ways in which links can be built (sorry cheaky way to get that keyword phrase in!). Whilst all of these methods deliver links, some of these methods will deliver the hole in the doughnut, in terms of benefit. Others will simply land you in hot water. Hopefully i will be able to shed a little light on what is worth the effort and what isn't. There's a good quote i like 'If you want the rainbow, you've gota be able to put up with the rain. ‘ Too true..

Before we get started (i'm gearing myself up as i think this is going to be some task - why 103 i ask myself? – i might live to regret it), keep the following in mind before we start.

"The objective is not to make your links appear natural, the objective is that your links are natural"

- Matt Cutts –

Best 103 Link Building methods..

The easy way...

1. Write quality articles - always seems to be the most obvious and yet one of the first to overlook! Rather than going for the 'let's get content out there quick!' method, spend the time to write quality, well researched articles. This can be the easiest ways to get people to link to your website by giving readers something they will want to reference and share. For more on this read my guide on how to build great content.

2. Demonstrate and build specialism on a subject. People in the know attract attention. That's human nature. People trust the information on offer and value the content. In return this content is referenced as a source of quality information (Wikipedia is a great example of this). This will also make it easier to accomplish #3.

3. Contact other websites in your niche and ask them for a link. Don't worry that many won't actually provide a link. If you have a great site that offers something unique that others will find of interest, you will get some success this way. For every one site that won't link back (for whatever the reason), there will be a dozen that will. Many websites will gladly do an exchange of some sort on the back of a request. Make sure you research how to write an engaging email. Don't follow suit and copy one of the many exchange emails that unsurprisingly make it into your spam box each day. In just the same way that you want your website to stand out. Your communications are a face for your business so put effort into writing engaging communications.

4. Buy links or ads on other sites. This is a quicker method of building links and provided you have the funds to accommodate this one, it can add real value, both in terms of bringing in traffic and getting links from ranked sites (which boosts your own ranking). The key here is researching the sites that have the traffic, and qualified traffic at that. Run test campaigns and track your results. Chop and change to optimize your placement range. Make sure each dollar spent really counts. The ads you want are the ones that deliver the best quality traffic (greatest relevant exposure) for the lowest spend.

5. The added incentive - These days everything comes with a bonus or incentive to get you to buy something. It's really all an illusion as you will need to spend good money in order to get this special added incentive, which usually is a fraction of what you have to spend to get it. It's also human nature to be apprehensive about offers. This is why giving something away or running a promotion can be so effective. It counteracts the effects of this apprehension. Make it easy for people to link to you. Offering something for free accomplishes just that. Monitoring your backlinks through this process is vital so that you see what is working.

6. The competitive spirit. Every major company in the world runs competitions or gives away prizes. Similar to #5, running a competition in which you give a prize away is a great way to build brand awareness and get noticed (which can equate to backlinks). This also helps engage your customers in which you are seen to be giving something back to the community. Again, it's really all a sales illusion as there is usually a sales strategy behind it (but is very effective). Generally speaking, the bigger the prize, the greater the number of people that will notice, and so the more backlinks you are likely to accumulate.

7. Leveraging the benefits of PPC (Pay per Click). This one can be a little costly and is far easier with financial stability. This is only really useful once you have an established site with quality content in place. Remember there's no point paying to bring in traffic if they are going to be less than impressed with your site and content. Make sure your content, landing page, architecture and so on are spot on before going down this route. Remember, you often won't get it right first time so monitor your spend, traffic and conversion ratios and adjust accordingly. With the increased visibility, there will be free backlinks to be had.

8. Submit your site to DMOZ. This free directory (and one of the most renound) can give you a real boost if you are listed. Firstly, a lot of people use it so any link placed is of high value and will bring in traffic. Secondly, the search engines give you authority cudos for being listed there, as they understand that there are fairly strict guidelines as to who is included. The downside is that they have a backlog bigger than the debt in Greece and Spain combined so it will take time. Don't keep resubmitting to them. Submit once and wait. To maximize your changes of being accepted - don't submit half finished sites. Make sure your site is as good as it can be and is complete before submitting - i read this guide by Matt Carter on how to get listed on DMOZ.

9. The Social media bandwagon. Assuming you haven't been hiding under a rock under recent times, you'll know just how many people are using social media sites. There's a reason Facebook was at one point estimated to be worth $100 Billion. All the top social networking sites are generally considered authority sites and whilst backlinks are usually NOFOLLOW links, there is a huge amount of traffic that can be gained. The same principle applies - if you can get traffic back to your site, some of it may link back to you. To get started try Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Youtube, Digg, Stumbleupon, Pinterest and Wordpress. Remember to get friends and family to back up your posts!

10. Hire someone to build links. Again, this is largely dependent on your cash flow however outsourcing your SEO can be a quick and effective way to build links. Unfortunately for every one quality SEO specialist who will add value to your link building campaign, there are 1000 that will do more damage than good. Read my guide on how to find a good SEO professional.

Link building through directories

Submit your site to relevant directories..

Much unlike search engines, directories don’t come looking for you, they rely on either manual or automatic submissions. There is more value going for the human directories as the automated ones generally get spammed pretty hard and are usually full of sites you wouldn’t consider linking to yourself. Here are some things you can do to build good quality links across directory sites..

11. Submit your link to free directories. There are still a ton of free directories that you can submit your link to. Find the best free directories in your niche, as these will deliver the greatest benefit to you. Don't worry that many will be NOFOLLOW links - it is still another route into your site or page. If you found the page you want to be listed on, others will too.

12. Submit to paid directories. Links from these sites usually are of higher value. Make sure they are in your niche (or have other sites in your niche). It's way more important to get quality links rather than a higher number of links from irrelevant sites. Some good ones can be found here.

13. Use bookmarking sites like Delicious. Be sure to tag your site. Other users might find your site of interest and link to it.

14. Use Sliq Submitter – Ok, maybe not a sound method to get ‘quality links’ but it can add value. I am not an advocate of using software to submit to directories however this one can be used beneficially. You can submit to up to 1200 directories (although i don't suggest doing this) rotating combinations of titles, descriptions and keywords. There are a lot of high value links that can be acquired for minimum effort. Find relevant sites only and submit.

15. Submit your site to relevant directories and relevant categories! Give your link every chance of i) being accepted and ii) being found by people that are more likely to link to your site (remember relevancy is everything). After all, how do you think relevant traffic will find you? They search relevant categories to find what thy're looking for.

16. Start your own directory. You have a site, why not create a directory for yourself? If it is high enough quality, others will link to you on merit.

17. Avoid generic directories. Directories that focus on a specific topic generally have far more credibility and as such offer better value for money. A good way to judge this one is to look at the quality of links on a category page. Check a few. Are their strict guidelines or are they accepting any old garbage.

18. Proof read your content before submitting links to directories. You are trying to build traffic. You will get the backlink from the directory (usually a NOFOLLOW) however the traffic it brings could also link to you if they like your content.

19. Understand the submission criteria. If you don’t read the rules, and understand the guidelines, your efforts could be in vein. This is a big factor as to why more sites aren't accepted into DMOZ.

20. Pay an SEO professional to build relevant directory links. Insist on manual submissions and set out the standards you want them to follow.

The cunning plan..


Going the extra mile..

21. Charitable donations. Many charities that accept donations will give you a return link to your site. You may get a mention, on their donations page, in a publication or be mentioned in a newsletter or mail-out. Find a list of available charities here.

22. Become a sponsor. A huge number of people will link to their sponsors.

23. Start your own affiliate program. The links themselves don’t really carry any SEO value however the additional publicity will likely generate to additional links to your site.

24. Create a stir. Do something outrageous that you know will cause either outrage or disbelief and sent it to a number of key journalists (or even your local newspapers). The media exposure will lead to additional publicity and a raft of links to your site (although probably not great for your brand).

25. .Edu links – lovely. A number of .Edu sites offer statistics pages that are open to visitors. These pages show the originating visitor and the site they originated along with a link. Simulate a few thousand (probably overkill but just to make sure!) visits originating from your site and your top of the list. Good idea but I wouldn’t try it!

26. The power of E-bay. Similar to # 21 – sell something on E-bay and donate the proceeds to your favourite charity. Be sure to tell them what you’re up to as often they will thank you with a link.

3-way link buidling


The Links trade..

27. Trading links. Whilst reciprocal linking is not particularly in favour any more, it can still present a route back to your site, which is effective if it is potentially bringing in relevant traffic. Remember, that traffic might decide to link to you.

28. 3-way linking (illustrated to the right). You link to my site and I’ll link back to your second site. Much more common, and is of real value where the links are coming from different IP’s. Try to get links within the main body of the content as these provide better value and stay away from sites / pages that host a ton of random, off topic links. The benefit of 3-way linking is it gives the impression of sites linking to each other out of merit (as opposed to mutual agreement).

29. Swapping articles. Let me post an article with a few links in it on your site and I’ll post one of yours on mine. Again, it’s much better if the exchange is 3-way (not reciprocal). These links will be in content so will provide the benefit mentioned in # 28.

30. Use link swapping sites. The initial benefit is that you know the site owners there are looking to trade, so you don’t have to do any sales pitch. Generally, the quality of sites listed isn’t great, but from time to time, you can pick up some valuable links. You can try sites like:

Building links from businesses

31. Business directories. There are thousands of business directories out there where you can post your link. Again, make sure you post into a relevant category and check that the page you are submitting to is crawled regularly (no more than 50-60 days ago). Other businesses in your field may find your site and link to you out of merit, assuming no direct competition.

32. Local chamber of commerce. This is a popular one that I wasn’t aware of until recently.

33. Business / Professional associations. You can often get link to your site through any number of relevant business or professional associations.

34. Arrange business deals #1. As part of your dealings with other businesses, offer them something at a good rate and ask if they would link to your site as a thank you.

35. Arrange business deals #2. Come to some mutually beneficial arrangement. Might be handing out business cards for each other.. Agree between you to link your company websites.

Article and News Submissions..

36. Submit articles. Article syndication sites can be a great way to generate links back to your site. Choose high ranking sites, as this will bring higher volumes of traffic in (articles tend to rank well from these sites). Check out the listings, left, some of which are based on page rank, Alexa rank and traffic.

37. Submit your news to newswires. Write appealing and up to date news articles and submit them to news sites. Popular sites are PRweb, Sourcewire and Realwire. It can cost up to £100 per submission. Find your way to the page you can submit your news, enter your news into the form and add your links back to your site. Your links will generally be at the bottom of the article.

38. Create an RSS news feed. Creating an RSS feed allowing users to keep up to date with your news posts is a great way to generate good traffic and free backlinks. Obviously, this only works if you have regular and interesting news posts.

39. Use a content spinner. Take care with this one. There aren’t many content spinners that create perfect, legible content. Many will however make the core changes you need. You will need to go in and tweak the article to make sure it is in a readable format (and doesn’t look like it’s been spun!). Make multiple versions of either your news or article and submit to multiple sites.

40. Article submission software. There is a ton of article submission software out there which will submit your article to hundreds of article submission sites. Not one i would recommend as the articles will be largely duplicates. Creating unique individual articles and submitting to one site is the way to go and will be held in more favourable light by the SE’s.

I just liked this!


Don't be shy. Spread the love..

41. Offer to leave testimonials on products you have used that you like. Often this can lead to a backlinks to your site.

42. Leave reviews on Alexa. Post reviews on authority sites in your niche. This will give you a link back to your site and whilst it isn’t much good for SEO purposes (directly), this can drive relevant traffic to your site.

43. Leave reviews on Amazon. There will be many products in your niche on Amazon. Leave reviews on those products. Be sure to include a link along with a bit of blurb which qualifies you to have an opinion!

44. Creating product lists on Amazon. Another one i wasn’t aware of until recently. As per # 43, a bit of a blurb and a link is all that is needed.

45. Sell on Ebay. Ebay was already covered, however under a different context. This time, sell a popular product related closely to your niche and write a very detailed and impressive review as part of your sales pitch. This can lead to qualified traffic generation, some of which can impress people who will in turn link to you. Even better if you merge this one with #5.

46. Profile links on review sites. Most sites that allow you to review products or services will also allow you to create a profile. Make sure you add your site URL to your profile, which will serve as a free backlink to your site. 99% of the time it will be a Nofollow link, however it will drive relevant traffic, assuming you are reviewing a related product. Some of that traffic might actually link to you. Another link...

Forums & Blogs..

47. Start a forum on a particular topic. This can be a great way to get backlinks although takes a little time to establish.

48. Start a blog that is either standalone or in the same field as your website. Post regularly and write quality content that will promote others to link to you.

49. I already covered the link in the profile, didn’t I?

50. Do unto others.. Link to other blogs that share topic with you. Most proficient bloggers monitor their traffic and some will link back to you.

51. This is a dummy. Just want to see who is still reading and how many comments i get when people notice the list stops at 104, not 103. Am i really only just over half way there??

52. Once you have your blog created, submit it to the top blog directories. Here are the top 20 based on PR (Page Rank) and Alexa rank:

53. Post comments in relevant blogs. Make insightful comments and participate in discussions. You can often leave a link to your site. If others are impressed by your comments, they may visit your link. Who knows, they might like what they see and add a link to your site.

A little more unorthodox!

54. Look for domains that are for sale that have a good number of links already in place. Buy the domain and you have yourself a head start. The rest in this section could get you into trouble..

55. Promise your colleague that you won’t hit on his sister provided he links to you from his site home page.

56. Find a high profile company and spray paint your website address across their head office. With a little luck it will make the news, which will be shortly followed by a host of free, one way links.

57. Kidnap your partners dog Bruno and make it clear he's not having it back until he links to you. This one could spell court action. Don't worry, by the time you’re out of jail, the links will be carrying a lot more weight.

58. Sue a high profile celebrity. This is always a great way to drive unsubstantiated levels of one way links to your site. Do make sure it’s your company suing the individual and not you as an individual. Your site URL needs mention.

59. Post a competition on your site offering a top prize of £100 Million. Leave it up for long enough to generate a few backlinks, but not long enough to get caught.

60. Seek bad press. The worse the press, the more links you will get, so make it count!

61. Have your domain name spray painted on the side of your car in aluminous lettering and drive around town. Alternatively spray a shock message that is sure to get everyone who sees it to visit your website to read more on it.

Ok, had a little fun...back to business..

The more conventional..

62. Get started on Squidoo. Set up a page and make it count. Link to industry experts and be sure to send some traffic their way. If they like what you have, they may link to you.

63. Create a page about your company on Wikipedia. It largely depends on the type of site you have but most will be fine. The challenge is getting it approved. The guidelines are far stricter than they used to be, given the vast increase in submissions.

64. If you can’t get a Wikipedia page, add links to pages that link to your site.

65. A trip to Value comes at a price...Buy 1000 backlinks on for $5 (high quality links, i hear you say).

66. Write a critique of something. This can be a very effective method to generate some links. Others that agree with your critique will often link to you in an attempt to evidence their disapproval of a product or service.

67. Write quality link bait. Write an article of such exceptional quality, that others will link to you through merit alone.

68. Write a tutorial on a product or service related to your niche. Back it up with a video on Youtube. This will often generate backlinks.

69. Post videos on YouTube. Many of the community sites such as Hubpages or Squidoo all give additional benefit to authors for hosting videos. For many it’s a quick trip to YouTube. Make sure you include a link as this will drive traffic, some of which may link to you. Before you get started, be sure to do some keyword research to find out what people at search for.

70. Sign guest books. Often guest books have a space to leave a website address. Many are direct links.The ones that aren't, are still a route back to your site.

72. Don’t ignore Technorati. Be sure to ping Technorati with your articles. Articles often rank well in Yahoo and MSN with little effort. This will increase your exposure and may lead to people linking to you.

73. Ask your audience to link. Sometimes the simple methods are the easiest way forward. What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t. You've lost nothing.

74. Don’t spam. This is a sure way to prevent anyone linking to you. If you want to build links and have even the remotest ambitions of having a successful business or website, don’t do it.

75. Don’t use Black Hat techniques. This is a sure fire way to limit the number of links you get.

76. Build lists on your site (similar to this!). People love lists, especially big lists with tons of useful information. They are usually (not leading you anywhere here intentionally) regularly linked to.

77. Create specialist pages with a host of useful resources. Make it a mammoth list. The key is to make a page that has real authority. Go the extra mile on it and you will likely be awarded with links to your post / article.

78. Experts in the field. Link to experts in your field from these authority articles. In my case, i would be linking to the likes of Aaron Wall ( or Matt Cutts ( These guys are in many ways the authority on SEO and current thinking in the field. SEO specialists regularly review their traffic so it’s an opportunity to entice a visit (maybe a link?).

79. Beg for the link. Please, please, please - link to this article! Come’ve read this far.

80. Reaching out to education. This one is dependent on your site topic. It is possible to contact .Edu sites and pitch to them that you have a quality piece of content that might be of use to their student population. This can gain you a high value link back to your site. Of course you actually need the credible content to pull this one off.

81. The 301 redirect. When you move pages, rather than using a 301 redirect, contact your partner and ask them to update the link. Sticking with the 301 may deliver traffic but it does nothing for your SEO. Updating the links gets you the SEO benefit to the target page, which is where you need it.

81. Providing testimonials. Who doesn’t like positive feedback? Provide positive feedback (or course where it’s warranted) and include your URL. In fact, make it a glowing review. One that they will not be able to ignore. Business owners love to showcase their vast collection of testimonials. All the best ones will get a mention. If you have a quality website, they will include your link, as this adds weight to the testimonial.

82. Develop free tools. Build a news widget or free tool that you can offer out for free. Make sure you include a link as part of the package, preferably embedded in within the widget. This method is great for building up one way links to your site, all under the guise of giving something away for free.

83. Offer your own scholarship to get high value links. This can be done by funding a scholarship for a College or University and will likely gain you links from .Edu sites (authority, education sites). You might get lucky as those that excel in scholarship are often covered in news releases / press, all in all which means greater exposure.

84. Write a Plugin or WordPress Theme. You can link back to your site in the copyright area.

85. Cross link your websites. If you have multiple websites, interlink them to build more links.

86. Use a newsletter. It can be difficult to build up a database of names, however giving something away for free just for signing up, is an effective way to boost numbers. Once you have an audience, posting great content and advertising it in your newsletter can gain you popularity links. People will link to your great content.

87. Use Questions & Answer sites such as Yahoo Answers. Be sure to post your link as the source for free backlinks (it’s Nofollow but still generates good traffic, some of which may link to you out of merit).

88. Ask other sites to review one of your products or even more generally, your website. Be sure to play on their ego before doing so.

89. Come up with a poll or survey that readers will be interested in. The more controversial or interesting the better.

90. Add Digg, Stumbleupon, Retweet and Facebook icons to your articles and ask people to support.

91. Use Craigslist which offers affordable backlinks and free classifieds.

92. Send me a mail, preferably once you have posted my link to this article, with relevant keywords (see the title!). Show your support and blow a little smoke.. make sure you leave your web address:)

Ok, so we have come a long way since this article started. I am glad you are still with me. With only a few left, i wanted to go into some of the highly frowned upon, if not illegal ways to get traffic into your site.

Ill-advised Methods to ‘try’ to get traffic to your website

As all the methods mentioned so far are all totally legitimate (please don’t do # 57 through 61!), here are a few more that will likely land you straight into a 4x4 cell and all are reputation breakers.

93. Download any number of free templates, rebrand them with your link and resubmit them to template directories.

94. Buy a WordPress plugin that is still active and create an update that contains a link to your site. Your site will appear when they next update their tool.

95. Buy a domain name similar to a hosting company and sent out a barrage of spammy emails asking website owners use that hosting company for their FTP details. It’s a numbers game. The ones who give it up – be sure to reward them by adding links manually to their key pages. Target Technopleb bloggers rather than the ones with any sense.

96. Visit some hard timers in your local prizon and offer to smuggle in contraband in return for them bullying weaker inmates into creating lots of relevant blogs and linking to your site. Shouldn’t be a problem seeing as prisons are more like holiday camps now – most have Internet.

97. Email out telling people you work for a credible source. Send fake references and anything else they ask for. Ask to write a guest post or article for their blog. Don’t forget to include a few reference links back to your site.

98. Send out emails asking for link exchanges. Make sure you include two paragraphs explaining the benefits of SEO to your prospective partner. You might also want to include Page Rank criteria that need to be met in order for you to link to them.

99. Find authority content by some big names. Remover all their signatures, add your own name and references and post to article sharing sites. Be sure you add in a link to a number of their other pages. Once they notice, you can be sure your site will get a ton of free links through the resultant discussions.

100. When it’s time for bonus reviews, overlook any webmasters that you know haven’t linked to your site, until such time as they do so.

101. Build a fictional story and get evidence to support. Put a well scripted story together and email it out to the news desks. If you make the story compelling enough, you should get free links from all the news websites that publish the story.

102. Look to get sued by an organisation people don’t like. This is a great way of generating lots of backlinks. You will need the links to pay for the court costs.

103. When leaving either forum posts or blog posts, be sure to use a large collection of spammy words in your signature. While you’re at it, add in 5 links to your top pages. In fact, why not make it your top 10 pages.

104. Start a hate campaign on Facebook. Be the ring leader. Build some support and ask for backlinks from your congregation. Don’t choose a popular figure as this is far more difficult to gain support over.

I believe so (as he wipes the beads of sweat from his brow). If you managed to stick with all the way through, good job:) I think i started to get lazy eye half way through. Nothing a few strong cups of coffee didn't sort out. If you found this of interest, you might also find some of my other hubs interesting too (sorry, has to be done!)...

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    • business-stuff profile image

      business-stuff 5 years ago from India

      Very useful hub to all who are looking to promote their business or services in online marketing through generating quality back links. Quality Backlinks are the very important to ranked website in SERPs, & these techniques help lots to generate backlinks.

    • rumintasari profile image

      Ruminta Sari 5 years ago from Sleman

      wow.. very complete link methods you share here, thanks a lot mate. voted!

    • RZed profile image

      RZed 5 years ago from UK

      Thanks Easypr - yes, i'm sure there are a lot more methods to create backlinks. If you have any good ones, do share:)

    • easypr profile image

      Alex Smith 5 years ago from Bhopal, India

      Great Great Information about how to create the backlink for website. Back links are play vital role to ranked website in search engine. After reading this hub, i know other techniques to increase the back links.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Wow this is great information. I a hubber as you can see, but I found you on Google's first page so you're doing something right! This one is rated up and bookmarked.

    • RZed profile image

      RZed 6 years ago from UK

      Thank you Eric. Glad it was of use to you. Was a lot of fun pulling together...especially 51:)

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Took me a couple hours to go through this list, especially since I was bookmarking many of the links you provided. I think method 51 is probably my favorite. (Everyone who missed that one should go back to it now). Great reference list. I'm going to get to work on some of these right away.


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